Northern Virginia Real Estate Law

Residential property and commercial transactions

  • Title issues
  • Title insurance
  • Conveyancing
  • Mortgages
  • Closings
  • Disputes

We enjoy helping Northern Virginia families make their largest and most challenging financial decision - the purchase of a home. Our law firm also works with businesses on commercial property transactions, including leases. We assist you through the important steps to help you feel certain that all pieces are in place.

Title issues

The resolution of the title to the property is one of the most important preliminary legal steps in any real estate purchase or sale. There are several steps involved:

  • Title examination
  • Resolution of title objections
  • Removal of liens
  • Resolution of easements

These are just a few of the basic issues involving the property title, and you need an experienced real estate attorney to see you through the title process. Our law firm has detailed knowledge of title issues, and ensures your title is properly examined.

Title insurance

An owner's title insurance policy is a necessary option. Claims against titles are at an all-time high, and misunderstandings about what title insurance protection provides are commonplace. In Virginia, the premium is typically paid for by the purchaser. Sometimes the seller will offer to pay for owner's title insurance (does not include paying for lender's, which is typically the greater part of the cost to the average purchaser), conditioned on the use of the seller's settlement agent. Penny wise and pound foolish is often the result, as that inducement will lead a person to often give up a competent settlement attorney's advice and counsel in handling the transaction for a few dollars saved, to have a notary hand them important legal papers to sign with no

Common misconceptions

  • The seller bought the house new and there has only been one owner.

However, the land to which the house is attached has been there for hundreds of years and likely changed ownership many times before. You are buying the land with the house attached, and title to the land is what you receive.

  • A title search has been done and no problem has been found.

That assumes that the search has been done properly, but many title claims arise from issues not apparent in a title search:

    • Forgeries
    • Improper foreclosures
    • Incomplete estate issues

A host of additional items come out of the background.  The advice of a competent settlement attorney is always advisable prior to and at closing, to complement title insurance protection


Transferring a property title is not as simple as transferring the title of a car. You cannot simply sign it on the back and hand it over to someone else. Property conveyance is a highly detailed legal process requiring the help of a seasoned real estate lawyer. Our law firm has many years of experience with real estate conveyancing, and is pleased to help you with your property transfer.


We work with you on all aspects of your mortgage:

  • Short sales
  • Settlement
  • Refinancing
  • Modification

Our law firm works to keep your mortgage process smooth and straightforward, so you can focus on plans for your property.


We conduct the closing of your transaction. The closing is more than just handing over a check for the down payment and signing a stack of papers. All of those papers should be reviewed carefully by a real estate lawyer and explained before you sign them. We focus on checking that your contract contains all agreements made in the negotiation of the sale. Your closing is more than just signing documents before a notary which many title companies will rely upon as you learn nothing about what you are signing.


Real estate disputes may occur long after the initial transaction. We are skilled negotiators and can often mediate satisfactorily, but we also have extensive experience in real estate dispute litigation.


Some disputes arise from a claim of misrepresentation:

  • Toxic conditions not disclosed
  • Improper construction concealed
  • Title issues misrepresented
  • Repairs not completed
  • Property details misstated

Boundary disputes

Other disputes concern the sharing of property lines:

  • Fence issues
  • Tree overgrowth
  • Driveway location issues

We work with the opposing party's attorney to reach an amicable resolution to your real estate dispute. If this cannot be achieved, we litigate your case and fight for your legal rights in a court of law.

Choose an experienced real estate lawyer in Northern Virginia

To discuss your real estate legal needs, contact Howard A. Birmiel, Attorney at Law. Your initial phone consultation is free